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Save Science World From Sea Level Rise

Can you imagine walking through a city full of water? The City of Vancouver is listed as one of the most vulnerable cities in the world to coastal flooding and sea level rise. Scientists anticipate that Vancouver will see about a meter of sea level rise by 2100.  


Climate change is warming the oceans and warmer water takes up more space or volume. With rising temperatures, glaciers and ice sheets on land are melting, adding more water to the ocean. Global sea level is rising and local water levels are also becoming higher. One consequence of rising sea levels is an increase in coastal flooding.

As sea levels rise close to shore, it is easier for ocean waves to come onto shore. Add a storm, and the coastal winds will push the waves further inland. Make that storm happen when water levels are high during a high or king tide, and the waves come further inshore. Every centimeter of sea level rise can change how often, how severe, and how far coastlines will flood.  

Click on this image to learn more about how sea level rise will change Vancouver's coastline.

In this activity, you will explore how rising sea levels change the shoreline and damage city infrastructure through erosion. Then, you will play the role of a city planner and come up with potential solutions to build a more sustainable city and save Science World from sea level rise!  

Curriculum Connections: 

Grade 3-5 – Biology, Social Science, and Earth and Space Sciences  

This activity is a GenAction initiative and will have a companion Science Spotlight. Coming soon!  

Objectives

  • Understand that communities are researching, planning, and building adaptation structures along the coastline to prepare for rising sea levels 

  • Know that sea level rise causes more frequent and severe coastal flooding and can damage infrastructure and places we care about  

  • Model how sea level rise changes the shoreline through erosion and test if it will damage infrastructure  

  • Define four key adaptation options – i.e., resist, accommodate, avoid, and advance  

  • Build and test examples of these strategies to save Science World – e.g., dike, stills, etc.  

  • Recognize that moving the city or infrastructure isn’t always a viable solution  

  • Research local plans and actions that have happened in their neighbourhood  

Materials

  • Sand

  • Water

  • Spoon

  • Shallow bin or paint pan liner

  • Science World Dome Print Out (linked)

  • Sticks (natural or popsicle)

  • Rocks

  • Vegetation

Key Questions

  • Did you do a thing?

What To Do

Explore what happens to shoreline when sea level rises 

Make your demo tub and a science world dome (paper version of the dome print out). Pile the sand to one side of your tin to

form a shoreline and add water and a paper structure on the sand to represent your house – or even Science World! 

 

 

 

 

Move a spoon up and down to create waves. What happens to your shoreline? 

Now, pour some more water into the pan – this water represents sea level rise. What happens when you created waves now?

How much farther in do the waves go?

 

Time to protect your structure from sea level rise 

You could resist coastal flooding by building structures like walls or building it up with stabilizing vegetation to shelter

 buildings. If you want to allow flooding to happen, you could accommodate it by raising the building higher. Relocating structures away from the shoreline would avoid areas where flooding happens. Try to advance the shoreline forward and building it up – don’t forget to add places for wildlife to live!  

  1. Grab some more building materials 
  2. Try to build a solution! 
  3. See if the water can reach your structure now  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Try a new solution and see which you like best!

Extensions

  • Be an advocate! If you live along the coast, research if your community has a plan to adapt to sea level rise. Write a letter to your local government and share why planning for increased coastal flooding is important and which places you want to protect. Tamsin Lyle reminded us to not forget to look out for our scaley, furry, and feathered neighbours, to make sure that they aren’t squeezed out of their homes as the sea level rises too! No matter where you live, make sure your friends, class, neighbors, and elected officials know that sea level rise and climate change is happening.

Other Resources

About the sticker

Survivors

Artist: Jeff Kulak

Jeff is a senior graphic designer at Science World. His illustration work has been published in the Walrus, The National Post, Reader’s Digest and Chickadee Magazine. He loves to make music, ride bikes, and spend time in the forest.

About the sticker

Egg BB

Artist: Jeff Kulak

Jeff is a senior graphic designer at Science World. His illustration work has been published in the Walrus, The National Post, Reader’s Digest and Chickadee Magazine. He loves to make music, ride bikes, and spend time in the forest.

About the sticker

Comet Crisp

Artist: Jeff Kulak

Jeff is a senior graphic designer at Science World. His illustration work has been published in the Walrus, The National Post, Reader’s Digest and Chickadee Magazine. He loves to make music, ride bikes, and spend time in the forest.

About the sticker

T-Rex and Baby

Artist: Michelle Yong

Michelle is a designer with a focus on creating joyful digital experiences! She enjoys exploring the potential forms that an idea can express itself in and helping then take shape.

About the sticker

Buddy the T-Rex

Artist: Michelle Yong

Michelle is a designer with a focus on creating joyful digital experiences! She enjoys exploring the potential forms that an idea can express itself in and helping then take shape.

About the sticker

Geodessy

Artist: Michelle Yong

Michelle is a designer with a focus on creating joyful digital experiences! She enjoys exploring the potential forms that an idea can express itself in and helping then take shape.

About the sticker

Science Buddies

Artist: Ty Dale

From Canada, Ty was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1993. From his chaotic workspace he draws in several different illustrative styles with thick outlines, bold colours and quirky-child like drawings. Ty distils the world around him into its basic geometry, prompting us to look at the mundane in a different way.

About the sticker

Western Dinosaur

Artist: Ty Dale

From Canada, Ty was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1993. From his chaotic workspace he draws in several different illustrative styles with thick outlines, bold colours and quirky-child like drawings. Ty distils the world around him into its basic geometry, prompting us to look at the mundane in a different way.

About the sticker

Time-Travel T-Rex

Artist: Ty Dale

From Canada, Ty was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1993. From his chaotic workspace he draws in several different illustrative styles with thick outlines, bold colours and quirky-child like drawings. Ty distils the world around him into its basic geometry, prompting us to look at the mundane in a different way.